USAF Slowly Expands Fly Overs and More
AIR FORCE SLOWLY EXPANDS PUBLIC OUTREACH
Although the budgetary impact of sequestration continues to create financial stress for the military, the U.S. Air Force has begun to slowly roll back some of the aerial support restrictions that had been in place since the early spring of 2013.
The Pentagon authorized a full schedule of performances for both the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds during the 2014 air show season. The Air Force has also deployed the F-22 Raptor to approximately 20 air shows so far this season. And the Marine Corps has authorized a full schedule of Harrier and Osprey demonstrations for 2014. But non-Raptor single-ship demos and military statics at civilian shows were banned completely for most of this air show season, as were military fly-bys at sporting events and air shows.
With the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1, however, this situation has loosened up a bit. Last week, Air Force Times reported that the Air Force had approved fly-overs at four major sporting events: two Air Force Academy football games, a NASCAR race in Charlotte, and a Major League Baseball play-off game. The Air Force is also supporting a number of air shows with aircraft static displays. The Air Force has put an absolute limit of two (2) aircraft on that static support and it is reaching out to air shows that had already requested support for their shows in October and November of this year.
"Although it's still too early to know what this means for the 2015 air show season and beyond, it's certainly a good sign," said ICAS President John Cudahy. "We know that the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are eager to increase their air show support next year. The challenge has been finding a way to do that in this difficult budgetary environment. We expect that this small change for the last six weeks of the 2014 air show season will translate to even more robust support in 2015."